Every once in a while it’s good to take a break from all the flying you have to do for work, and actually get out and see the world. I mean how many times can you possibly go to Paris, London, São Paulo, Rio, and Milan? And while it’s great to get to go to all these amazing cities, on the somewhat regular, I took this job with American for a greater reason.
When I first started flying I was clear that I took this job to see the world. To really see the world. To get down and dirty in third-world countries, to go off the beaten path, and to hike around and see all of the beauty that this world has to offer, till my heart is content. So last month, that’s just what I planned, or rather didn’t plan.
I “dropped” a bunch of trips, (being a flight attendant for a major airline gives you the flexibility to work, or not work as much as you’d like, provided someone is willing to pick up your trips from you), kept minimal hours for the month, took a flight over to LAX, and from there flew on our newest route to Sydney.
While Australia is the exact opposite of the type of thrill I like to experience when I personally travel, it provided me with numerous amounts of other hobbies to keep myself busy, including warm beaches, cool mountains, and everything from boats, planes, and trains.
With only knowing a small group of friends that live in Sydney, which I met through my travels over the summer in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I was skeptical of traveling such a far distance, alone. The amazing thing about my job is that it let’s me travel for little to no cost, and occasionally with a “buddy,” however you’ll come to find out that most “normal” people can’t take off two to three weeks at the beginning of January with about two days notice. So as usual, I went alone.
The first day I decided to attend happy hour at a bar I was suppose to meet my one friend a bit later on in the evening at. During these “happy hours” I quickly met a Canadian guy who had arrived alone for work not much more before me, and wanted to go out and explore everything Sydney had to offer as well. We instantly became “temporary best friends,” and made plans for the upcoming week ahead.
We toured the Sydney Opera House together learning all about Jørn Utzon and his marvel of an architectural idea, visited all sorts of museums from Sydney history to Madame Tussaud’s, experienced some of the hottest clubs and bars in Darlinghurst and Kings X, including the Stonewall Hotel, the Beresford Hotel, Arq, and the SugarMill, and even hiked the Blue Mountains. As you can see from below, those Blue Mountains are no joke.
But all good things must come to an end right? Not necessarily. After diving into all the diversity and rich culture Sydney had to feed me, I decided I needed to see more of Australia. I mean, why travel 2+ days to land of down under to just stay a week or so? So I decided to use my Zed Travel benefits, (when you work for a major airline you generally have interline agreements allowing you to travel on other airlines for little to no cost travel depending on where you are/going), to hop on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Melbourne, with no real plan or agenda. I mean, why travel to a country so far away and only get to experience one city? That would be like coming to the States and only seeing New York City, you wouldn’t get an accurate depiction of this massive country at all.
So Melbourne it was! As luck would have it, the first day I was there I met a kid from the U.K., who was visiting as well but his friend had been sick leaving him alone. Myself, being alone as well, we decided to team up and see the many sights of Melbourne. We toured everything from St. Kilda beach, the great firework show, rooftop lounges/bars, and even had an amazing meal at top-rated Asian fusion restaurant Chin Chin.
Sadly, he had plans his last couple of days to take an overnight tour of the Great Ocean Road, which led me to want to sign up for one myself. After walking back to my hotel one night, I noticed a travel agency next door, stopped in to ask some questions about the tours offered, and a moment later I was booked on my own little excursion the next day.
Little did I know that this tour was an all day (about 14 hours) of jam-packed sightseeing including 600 kilometers of driving, hikes through rain forests and up the coast, numerous stops for meals, and ultimately watching the sunset over the 12 Apostles.
The journey was long, but each view was more gorgeous then the last. The ultimate reward of getting to watch the sunset over the 12 Apostles was one of the most spectacular events I have ever witnessed. By the time I was back at my hotel it was near 01:00 in the morning, leaving little time to sleep before checkout.
I woke up the next day, extremely late, in a panic knowing that I had missed my morning flight back to Sydney, to then fly back to Los Angeles. So what were my options are this point? Pretty much to stay in Sydney a few extra days, (it ended up being much, much more), and have a little more fun. I once again used my Zed Fare agreements to grab a quick flight on Qantas back over to Sydney, (thanks for the rides guys!), booked a cheap private room in a hostel as quickly as I could find one, and logged back into my company work program to drop a few more trips to continue my holiday in Australia. By the act of God, the horrible trips that I can hold at my seniority dropped, and I was instantly cleared to stay as long as I wanted in Sydney, (or until it was time for my next trip; which was about a week and a half away)!
In the remainder of the time I stayed I managed to finish all of the sights I had wanted to see a week ago, but didn’t have enough time for. Oddly enough, as I was checking into the hostel which I stayed at my last week in Sydney, the manager who checked me in and I instantly bonded, and made some plans to hang out that week.
We embarked on the legendary Bondi to Coogee hike, which is an amazing hike down the shore starting in Sydney’s most popular beach, Bondi. The views are magnificent and the hike itself isn’t too much of a struggle. It makes such a difference if you have some one to do this with, as you can just chat and pass the time
Eventually I soon realized that I couldn’t escape from work much longer and had to inevitably hop on a plane back to the States. I met an amazing group of people along the way, that I wouldn’t have traded the experiences I had with them for anything.
All and all, I was so scared to travel so far alone, and ironically enough the whole three weeks I was in Australia, I was never alone for more then a few minutes. It’s amazing how many people are in the same situation as you, solo travelers that just want to see the world, and make new experiences with all of the people they meet along the way. I will never forget the memories I made in Australia, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to travel to such a beautiful country.